Downton Abbey Series Three: “American Invasion”

With Downton Abbey set to return to our screens later this year, expect the rumour mill to do a roaring trade over the next couple of months. Will Bates get off? Is Thomas O’Brien’s son? ..and most importantly, will Carson and Mrs Hughes get it on?!

At this stage, apart from admitting that the third series will be taking place in the 1920s and include a ‘Catholic storyline’, Fellowes is keeping tight-lipped, but US-born actress Elizabeth McGovern has also revealed that we can expect two weddings and an influx of Americans. If nothing else, it should make for some cracking Maggie Smith put-downs.

One of the weddings is presumably that of Carson and Lady Sybil and we’re pretty sure that the Catholic storyline may originate from that particular relationship. The smart money is also on Lady Mary and Matthew getting hitched at some point, although we’re sure there will be enough twists to fill a Dan Brown novel before they make it to the church.

The actress who plays Lady Crawley in the ITV drama also revealed that we can expect a load of Americans to be arriving in the third series, in the form of her character’s relatives. There have also been whispers that Joan Collins will be playing her mother (any scene between her and Maggie Smith should be interesting).

Fellowes has previously revealed that the arrival of American ladies to the British upper-classes in the late 19th and early 20th century was one of the things that inspired him to write Downton. Read our full interview with him here.

However the show’s creator has also hinted that the third series will be the final one..

“The original concept in my optimistic head was for the first series to start towards the end of the Edwardian era, the second to be set during World War One and the third in the 1920s. In the ’20s there are big changes, new inventions, different expectations I can’t wait to explore,” he said last year.

The show has already experienced success across the Atlantic and scooped four Emmy awards in the U.S. last September.

But controversial news about the producers’ decision to simplify some of the more intricate storylines for the U.S. audience has caused a ruckus amongst some stateside viewers.

Rebecca Eaton, an executive producer for the PBS network – which airs the U.S. version of the show – admitted earlier this month that American audiences demand a ‘different speed’ to their shows.

As a result, Downton, which ran for eight hours on ITV, has been slashed to six for the States, while the story¬line about the inheritance of the Abbey has been downplayed.